Nonprofit using ‘Giving Tuesday’ as a way to raise support to send domestic violence survivors to college

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LANSING, Mich (WLNS)– As ‘Giving Tuesday’ approaches, a Lansing based non-profit is encouraging people to step up and support the community in some way.

“The important thing is that you do something, especially right now when we’re stuck at home and we’re all feeling kind of powerless and we’re not really sure what to do with ourselves, this is a really tangible way for you to give at whatever level works for you and works for your budget just to be involved and to do something to make a difference,” said Joy Whitenburg, Director of Resource Development for EVE (Ending Violent Encounters.)

Giving Tuesday is a global movement that started in 2012, aimed at encouraging people to help their community in some way whether it’s through financial donations to a local charity or a simple act of kindness.

Whitenburg said at EVE, they’re working to raise 1,400 dollars for a scholarship fund launched last year.

“We raised enough money to actually pay for a student to start a semester, two semesters actually of college and the 1,400 dollars is our goal because we want to pay for her books,” Whitenburg said.

She added that often times it’s difficult for people in domestic violence situations to attend school.

“First of all, there’s a lot of negative and emotional abuse when you’re in an abusive relationship telling you that you’re not good enough, that you can’t do the things that you want to do. Basically just keeping that person in a place where they feel like they can’t do any better and they can’t move on because if they could do better and they could move on, they might leave,” Whitenburg said.

There’s also physical abuse.

“If you were to start a program you would have more people that you would have to hide physical signs of abuse from. You would start missing days of class or days of work because of physical issues like having to go to the ER or having to make excuses for why you can’t do certain things.”

And one that isn’t talked about as often… financial abuse.

“It’s extremely common for an abusive partner to no just control the money in the relationship, which of course makes it hard to pay for school, let alone just your basic daily needs, but there’s also this tendency of abusers to show up at a person’s work to make it difficult to hold down a job which could pay for school. And if they’re showing up at work to make it difficult, it’s likely that they’ll eventually start showing up at your classes and start creating a scene or putting other people in a dangerous situation,” Whitenburg said.

EVE hopes that by providing the means, with help from the community, they can help survivors pursue their goals.

As people think about which organizations they’ll support on Tuesday, Whitenburg said it’s not the dollar amount that matters, what’s important is stepping up in some way to help your community.

“If that’s EVE, that’s fantastic, but if it’s not eve– if you care about a different mission, I would encourage you– find the one that speaks to you and that matters to you and then just get involved at whatever level works for you.”

If you or someone you know is facing a domestic abuse situation, EVE offers a free, confidential 24-hour crisis line. It can be reached by calling (517) 372-5572. There is also an online chat option.

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